A former CIA officer says in a new book that the detention of a suspected al-Qaeda operative for years at one of the agency’s black sites was a “major-league screw-up” and that the CIA repeatedly ignored his misgivings about the case.
The officer, Glenn L. Carle, was tasked with interrogating a suspected senior member of al-Qaeda but came to conclude that the detainee — whom he identifies as CAPTUS -- was not a member of terrorist network at all and never should have been transferred to a black site, even though he did provide some useful intelligence.
“Slowly, progressively, first in dismay, then in anger, I had realized that on the CAPTUS case the Agency, the government, all of us, had been victims of delusion,” he writes in the new book, “The Interrogator.”
Carle never identifies the detainee by name, and the book has been heavily redacted by the CIA’s Publications Review Board.
But others who have read the book have determined that the detainee was Pacha Wazir, an Afghan who ran a money transfer system known as a “hawala.”
Wazir was held by the Americans without charge for about eight years, including for a time at Bagram air base, before being released last year. Author Ron Suskind described the rendition of Wazir, whom he described as “the main money-handler for Osama bin Laden,” in his 2006 book, “The One Percent Doctrine.”
The CIA declined to comment on the identity of the detainee.
A U.S. intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, also refused to comment on the detainee’s identity. When asked to comment on the book, the official said: “Some people were at the center of the CIA’s efforts to catch terrorists after 9/11, and some weren’t.”
The release of “The Interrogator” marks the second time in recent weeks that Carle has leveled allegations at the national security establishment. Last month, he alleged that the Bush White House tried to discredit an American critic of the Iraq war by seeking damaging personal information about him.
In the book, Carle describes himself as a fierce opponent of torture, and says CAPTUS was interrogated before guidelines for “enhanced interrogation techniques” had been approved. But he asserts that the case still serves as an indictment of U.S. counterterrorism measures.
“The CAPTUS case reveals how our rendition, detention, and coercive interrogation policies have corrupted our government’s institutions, eroded our society’s most deeply cherished values, undermined our system of laws, and, in any event, do not work.”
Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.